Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Unaccountable Israeli Settler Criminality

Unaccountable Israeli Settler Criminality

by Stephen Lendman

It's systemic. Including vandalism against Palestinian mosques, schools, property, land and crops. Torching them. Uprooting trees.

Violence. Including beatings. At times murder. Against Palestinian men, women and children.

With impunity. Israeli security forces doing nothing to protect targeted Palestinians. Or maintain public order.

Disregarding an Israeli High Court ruling stating:

"Protecting the security and property of the local residents is one of the most basic obligations placed upon the military commander in the field." 

Defense officials must "give clear, unequivocal instructions to the forces that are deployed in the field." Must "allocate forces to protect the property of the Palestinian residents."

Must ensure settlers obey Israeli law. Must punish violators.

On November 24, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined "Israeli Settlers Continue Their Attacks against Palestinian Civilians in the West Bank." 

Escalating them unaccountably. The latest incident involving a home belonging to a Kherbet Avu Falah village woman. 

Settlers threw sound bombs and tear gas. Setting its balcony ablaze. 

"PCHR believes the Israeli forces' cover-up of settlers' attacks and even support and protection for them encourage settlers to continue their systematic attacks against the Palestinian civilians." 

"(S)uch crimes come in the context of the continuing incitement by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people."

Security forces and settlers conspire against Palestinian civilians. Ruthlessness defines official policy. So does institutionalized racism.

"PCHR condemns these attacks, the Israeli government's silence and even support for them." Efforts for responsible international intervention repeatedly fail. 

Western leaders largely ignore blatant Israeli lawlessness. At most, occasional lip service without teeth. 

Letting Israel get away with virtually anything. Including abusive security force incidents. Slow-motion genocide. 

Premeditated wars of aggression. The highest of high crimes against peace. Systemic settler vandalism and violence.

On November 23, "settlers sneaked into Kherbet Abu Falah village," said PCHR. Headed towards Huda Abdul Ghani Abdul Rahim Hamayel's home.

"(T)ried to raid it." Broke balcony windows. "(S)pilled an incendiary substance inside…" Threw sound bombs and tear gas. Set balcony chairs, curtains and other furniture ablaze.

Wrote on Hamayel's walls: "Death to Arabs, avenging the blood of religious Jews." Drew a Star of David. Pointing to five Jews killed at a Jerusalem synagogue days earlier.

Hamayel explained as follows:

"I was with my 3 daughters aged 11-27 in our house in al-Sha'ab neighborhood in the north of Kherbet Abu Falah, northeast of Ramallah." 

"At approximately 03:30AM on Sunday, 23 November 2014, we woke up to a strange movement behind the house from the western side." 

"I thought there were thieves or Israeli soldiers around. I immediately switched the lights on and then heard as if someone was climbing the outer stairs." 

"In the meanwhile, I heard something had hit the balcony's door and broken the balcony's window. I noticed someone was attempting to open the inner steel door." 

"I tried to know who those people were, but nobody answered. My daughters and I started screaming and calling neighbors and relatives for help." 

"A minute later, I heard people talking in Hebrew and then throwing a sound bomb inside the balcony, due to which, we heard an explosion and were frightened." 

(T)hey threw a gas canister and then a Molotov cocktail and ran away to the mountain area towards 'Adi Add' settlement outpost, which is 3 kilometers away from us." 

"The armchairs, chairs, curtains and other furniture pieces in the balcony caught fire. In the meantime, neighbors arrived to extinguish" it.

"Forty minutes later, a Palestinian civil defense vehicle arrived and extinguished the fire. We got out of the house and noticed writings in Hebrew and David Star on the walls." 

They said "Death to Arabs, avenging the blood of the religious Jews." At approximately 07:00AM, Israeli forces and police came and photographed the house." 

"They took my statement regarding what had happened and seized some items used by the settlers in the balcony." 

"At approximately 11:00AM, the Israeli police and liaison officers came again and asked me to go to the police station in 'Beit Eil' at 3:00PM to file a complaint."

It doesn't matter. So-called Israeli investigations whitewash Jewish crimes against Palestinians. Nearly always. Ignoring accountability. Denying justice.

Yesh Din defends Palestinian human rights. Exposes Israeli crimes, ill-treatment and other abuses. Champions long denied accountability. 

Settler criminality is longstanding, it says. Vandalism and violence occur often. With disturbing regularity.

In many forms. Against Palestinians. For not being Jews. According to Yesh Din:

"These acts of violence are not isolated incidents, nor are they simply acts of hate or anger."

They're "part of a sophisticated, wider strategy designed to assert territorial domination over Palestinians in the West Bank."

By any means possible. In blatant violation of fundamental rule of law principles.

Including settler imposed "no-go zones." Often on Palestinian land. Terrified owners abandoning it. Fearing for their lives and safety.

Settlers launch so-called "price tag" attacks. Retaliatory acts against Palestinian civilians, homes, farmland, crops, mosques and other targets.

In response to Israeli security forces dismantling unauthorized outposts. International law is clear and unequivocal.

Occupying powers are responsible for the welfare and safety of populations they control. Israel brazenly ignores its obligation.

Fails to conduct credible investigations of crimes against Palestinians. Rarely ever enforces accountability. According to Yesh Din:

"The failure of law enforcement in the OPT has led many Palestinians to refrain from filing complaints when attacked. Those who do have little hope for redress." 

"Importantly, the State’s ongoing failure to instate criminal accountability of violent settlers inadvertently empowers them and supports the continuation of their strategic brand of violence."

In mid-November, Yesh Din published data on police investigatory failures. In "cases of ideological offenses against Palestinians."

Based on 1,045 files. In 2005 through most of 2014, "a mere 7.4 percent of investigation files led to indictments of Israeli civilians suspected of attacking Palestinians and their property, reflecting a decline of approximately one percent in the rate of such indictments."

Rare convictions amount to little more than wrist slaps. Regardless of crimes committed. 

Most often cases are closed because of police indifference. "(F)ailure to investigate properly," says Yesh Din.

Including "failure to locate offenders or collect sufficient evidence for prosecution."

In contrast, Palestinians are charged with crimes based on fake evidence. Often kept secret. 

Withheld from defense lawyers. For so-called national security reasons. Nonexistent ones.

Resulting in nearly automatic convictions. Guilt by accusation. Justice systematically denied. For Palestinians, none whatever exists.

Lawless settlers and security forces do what they please unaccountably. Palestinian complaints don't matter. 

Including in cases involving shootings, assaults, arson, destroying trees, burning crops, attacking animals, theft, illegal construction on privately owned Palestinian land, threats, harassment, and various other offenses.

According to Yesh Din:

"An examination of the data for 2013-2014 demonstrates that the newly established Nationalistic Crimes Unit in the Samaria & Judea District Police has not improved investigations of Israeli civilians suspected of offences against Palestinians in the West Bank." 

"The failure rate of the Israel Police in properly investigating ideological offenses against Palestinians has in fact worsened." 

"Of the investigative files Yesh Din has monitored, 159 were opened following complaints filed in 2013-2014." 

"The authorities charged with investigation and prosecution have completed processing 106 of these files." 

"Suspects were charged in just two files (1.9 percent). Meanwhile, 86 files were closed on the grounds of 'perpetrator unknown…" 

"(S)even were closed due to 'insufficient evidence…(T)wo additional files were closed due to 'absence of criminal culpability.' " 

In other words, whitewash. Willful Israeli stonewalling. Letting crimes committed by Jews against Palestinians go unpunished.

Nearly always. Imposing wrist-slap penalties following rare convictions.

"After reviewing the investigation material in these two cases," said Yesh Din, it "submitted an appeal to re-open the files for further investigation." 

"The figures show that of the 106 police investigation files opened and concluded during the past two years, 89.6 percent were closed because of investigative failure."

Systemic Israeli unwillingness to afford justice. Because of "negligence, lack of professionalism, insufficient investigative actions, and failure to meet accepted investigation standards."

Nothing is done to change longstanding policy. Denying justice to Palestinian victims reflects systemic Israeli practice.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Israeli Ruthlessness 101

Israeli Ruthlessness 101

by Stephen Lendman

Israel has more crimes on its rap sheet than mere mortals can count. Going back well before its so-called War of Independence.

Continuing multiple times daily. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. By rogue leaders and likeminded officials.

More extremist now than earlier. Mocking rule of law principles and then some. Committing slow-motion genocide against millions of Palestinians.

Ludicrously claiming democratic credentials. Enacting one racist law after another. The latest by extremist cabinet ministers.

"(D)efining the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and to anchor the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of the Independence."

Heading for likely Knesset enactment. Declaring "the right to express national self-determination within the State of Israel only to the Jewish people."

Denying fundamental rights of one-fifth of its population. Arabs considered non-persons. Subhumans. Fifth column threats.

Netanyahu outrageously calling no country more democratic than Israel. Turning truth on its head claiming: 

"(A)s it was and always will be. I don't know a country that is more democratic, or a more vibrant democracy than Israel in the world, certainly not in our region." 

"What is being challenged today is Israel’s existence as the nation-state of Jewish people, and therefore we will anchor in the law this national right of the Jewish people alongside a guarantee of individual rights for all its citizens.”

Fact: Israel is more hypocrisy than democracy.

Fact: Its only enemies are ones it invents.

Fact: Its so-called Nation-State law gives democracy a bad name.

Fact: Mocking its fundamental principles. 

Fact: Making regional monarchies look good by comparison.

Fact: Making Israel perhaps the only nation officially recognizing its majority population alone at the expense of minority members.

Fact: Nation-State legislation is civil rights law in reverse. 

Fact: Rescinding rights for one-fifth of its population instead of affirming them for all. Equally, fairly and just.

Netanyahu remains determined to enact what just societies condemn. Discriminatory harshness they wouldn't touch. 
Rife with appalling inequities.

Opposition Labor party leader Isaac Herzog said Netanyahu's government "does nothing but light fires. (It's) collapsing" under its own weight.

Haaretz editors said if legislation passes as now drafted, Israel will be removed "from the community of democratic nations." 

A largely tainted community. One Israel never belonged to. Persecuting Arabs for not being Jews. 

New legislation giving racism fig leaf cover. A veneer of legitimacy. Ruthlessness masquerading as democracy.

Taking a page out of Orwell. Saying all Israelis are equal. But some more than others.

Hebrew University Law Professor Ruth Gavison said "Nation-State (legislation) is likely to upset the essential balance of safeguarding (Israel's) entire vision."

Separate and unequal is longstanding Israeli policy. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel's (ACRI) new report discusses "One Rule, Two Legal Systems: Israel's Regime of Laws in the West Bank."

Civil justice for Jews. Militarized harshness for Palestinians. "The result: institutionalized discrimination," it says. 

A passage from the report explains as follows, saying:

"Two residents of the Hebron area have an altercation within the territory of the West Bank and both are arrested." 

"One of them, a Jewish resident of Kiryat Arba, is taken to a nearby police station, is immediately interrogated by a police officer and is brought within 24 hours to a hearing before the Jerusalem Magistrates Court." 

"In this hearing, the judge decides to order his release on condition of bail; this is not a very severe case, and the defendant pleads self- defense."

"The second person, a Palestinian resident of Hebron, is arrested for 96 hours before being brought before a military judge." 

"He is de facto interrogated only once during this period of time, under suspicion of committing an assault based on nationalistic motivations, which is deemed as a security offense, and he is tried before a military court, where he faces a penalty of extended incarceration."

Same case. Same issue. Separate rulings. A Jew given preferential treatment. A Palestinian harshly treated for not being Jewish.

Israeli Arab citizens treated much the same way. Longstanding injustice prevails. Mostly in Occupied Palestine. Worst of all in besieged Gaza.

Israel never was a democracy. For sure not now. With or without Nation-State legislation enactment. Pretense won't change things.

Discriminatory harshness touches all aspects of daily life. According to ACRI:

Numerous "military decrees, legal rulings and legislative amendments have resulted in a situation whereby Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Territories remain under the jurisdiction of Israeli law and the Israeli court system, with all the benefits that this confers."

Occupied Palestinians face militarized subjugation. Kangaroo tribunal justice. Meaning none at all.

For all alleged misdemeanors and crimes. From traffic violations to shoplifting to grand theft, armed robbery or first-degree murder.

According to Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Department director attorney Tamar Feldman:

ACRI's "report military decrees, legal rulings and legislative amendments have resulted in a situation whereby Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Territories remain under the jurisdiction of Israeli law and the Israeli court system, with all the benefits that this confers."

Palestinian rights don't matter. Treated with disdain. Like subhumans.

Societies perhaps are best judged by how they treat prisoners, their most disadvantaged and children.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) supports and helps thousands of incarcerated Palestinian political prisoners languishing unjustly in Israel's gulag.

Providing legal aid. Political action. Helping affected families. Other justice seeking initiatives.

PPC's new report says at least 600 Palestinian children were arrested since June. An average of four daily. 

Collective punishment by any standard. Discriminatory harshness. Against some children too young to understand. A record likely unmatched anywhere.

It gets worse. Nearly 40% were sexually abused during arrest an/or interrogation. PCC attorney Mufeed al-Haj reported other violations.

Including late night/pre-dawn family home raids. Physical and psychological abuse. Traumatizing affected children. Ignoring parents' rights.

Israeli law permits them to accompany interrogated children. Security forces operate extrajudicially. Making warrantless arrests.

Without just cause. Threatening children with beatings. Isolation. Targeting their parents. Threatening to torture their fathers. Rape their mothers and sisters.

Denying children food and water. Forcing them to confess under duress. Judging them guilty by accusation. Sign confessions in Hebrew they don't understand.

Principle 1 of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child says:

"Every child, without exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to (fundamental human and civil) rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family."

Entitled to special protections and opportunities. To help them develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially. So they'll grow up under conditions of freedom and dignity. 

Enjoy the right to life. An adequate standard of living. Healthcare, education, leisure, safety and peace. 

For over 47 years, Israel systematically denied Palestinians all fundamental rights mattering most. Children treated as abusively as adults.

Inflicting what amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child mandates keeping them safe from harm.

Article 4 states:

"Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children's rights are respected, protected and fulfilled."

Article 37 states:

"No one is allowed to punish children in a cruel or harmful way. Children who break the law should not be treated cruelly."

Other provisions mandate State Parties ensure "No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

"Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action."

Israel breaches international law repeatedly. Violating its own. Ignoring its High Court rulings. According to UNICEF:

"In addition to Israel’s obligations under international law, the guiding principles relating to the prohibition against torture in Israel are to be found in a 1999 decision of the Supreme Court, which is also legally binding on the Israeli military courts." 

"The Court concluded that a reasonable interrogation is necessarily one free of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and that this prohibition is absolute."

Based on interviews UNICEF conducted, abuse and mistreatment persist. During arrest, transfer, detention and interrogation.

Heavily armed soldiers break into homes pre-dawn. Parents and children are terrorized. Threats and physical violence follow. Fundamental rights systematically denied.

UNICEF calls Israeli mistreatment "widespread, systematic and institutionalized." Children are taken from their families. Detained. Terrorized under harsh conditions. Many become traumatized.

"In no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights," said UNICEF.

Defense for Children International (DCI) says about 20% of arrested Palestinian are held in solitary confinement. For days or weeks. Children as young as 10 are affected. Some younger.

Children are forcefully arrested. Painfully handcuffed. Blindfolded. Intimidated. Verbally abused. 

Strip searched. Beaten. Threatened. At times with death. Isolated. Sexually abused. Threatened against family members.

Prevented from sleeping. Restricted or denied access to food, water and toilet facilities. Prevented from seeing parents, other family members or counsel. 

Detained under horrific conditions. In tiny, windowless, unsanitary, foul-smelling cells. Forced to sign confessions in Hebrew under duress.

In times of war, used as human shields. Longstanding Israeli practice brutalizes them pre-dawn at home. At play. Going to or returning from school. Running errands for parents.

Occupied harshness makes normal life impossible. Stone-throwing convictions against people or property carry prison terms up to 10 years.

Against moving vehicles up to 20 years. Anything goes is longstanding Israeli policy. Children are treated like adults. Many become traumatized. Effects are longterm.

Official Israeli policy sanctions targeted assassinations. Death by diktat. No due process or judicial fairness.

The practice applies to Palestinians accused of various crimes. Including peacefully resisting Israeli ruthlessness. 

Protesting for rights everyone deserves. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Other reasons Israel invents to justify cold-blooded murder. Automatically calling targeted Palestinians "terrorists."

Israel's Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch saying "a terrorist who strikes civilians should be killed."

On the spot. No arrest. No investigation. No right to trial. No due process. No judicial fairness. No judged innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

No right to counsel. No observance of universally recognized international law. Death by diktat. Case closed.

Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat wants Palestinian citizenship rights revoked. For family members of anyone Israel calls a "terrorist." 

Meaning possible automatic deportation at Israel's discretion. An/or extra harsh discriminatory treatment. Including home demotions.

A practice Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls "deliberately and unlawfully punish(ing) people not accused of any wrongdoing."

"When carried out in occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, it amounts to collective punishment, a war crime."

"(B)lantantly unlawful, says HRW's Middle East and North Africa director Joe Stork.

"Israel should prosecute, convict, and punish criminals, not carry out vengeful destruction that harms entire families."

Israel finds new ways to prove its pariah state status. Palestinians are victimized for not being Jews. 

So are Arab Israeli citizens. Discriminated against unjustly. Fundamental civil and human rights don't matter. 

Nothing in prospect looks promising. Business as usual persists.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fascism in Ukraine

Fascism in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Washington bears full responsibility. Obama officials elevated fascist putschists to power. Neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland was lead instigator.

US-installed thugs rule lawlessly. They have no legitimacy whatever. They make mafia bosses look saintly by comparison.

Obama's new friends include a rogue's gallery of societal misfits. They represent mob rule. They're militantly anti-democratic. 

They tolerate no opposition. They're polar opposite what Ukrainians deserve. Washington offers full support. 

One fascist regime backs another. Both operate the same way. 

Merriam-Webster calls fascism "a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."

Mussolini called his version corporatism. It reflects "the merger of state and corporate power," he said. "The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of fascism."

"The keystone of the fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For fascism, the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative."

Today's version is no different. It combines police state harshness, disdain for fundamental rights, and brazen brutality with unbridled corporate power. It's ideologically over-the-top.

It's all take and no give. Monied interests control things. Ordinary people have no say. They're used. They're ruthlessly exploited. Resisters aren't tolerated. 

They're targeted, marginalized and eliminated altogether. Thousands of political prisoners languish in America's gulag. 

It's the world's largest by far. It's the most ruthless. It's supplemented by dozens of global torture prisons. Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg.

Torture is official US policy. Rule of law principles don't matter. Police state laws substitute. Constitutional protections don't apply. Post-9/11 legislation and presidential diktats reflect official policy. 

Fascist regimes rule this way. America's human rights record is by far the worst in world history. No other nation matches its sordid rap sheet.

Crimes of war, against humanity and genocide reflect longstanding policy. They continue globally. 

They're unprecedented. America is guilty of virtually every crime imaginable and then some. Atrocities repeat one after another.

Political scientist Lawrence W. Britt explained 14 fascist elements.
"These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share some level of similarity," he said.

They're present in America. They infest Ukraine. They threaten fundamental freedoms. They want them eliminated altogether.

Elements Britt explained are as follows:

(1) "Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism." They include flags, lapel pins, and other patriotic nationalist expressions. They rally people for a common cause.

(2) "Disdain for the importance of human (and civil) rights." They hinder elitist power.

(3) "Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause." They shift blame for failures. They "channel frustration in controlled directions." They vilify targeted groups and individuals for political advantage.

(4) "The supremacy of the military/avid militarism." They direct a disproportionate share of national wealth and resources for them.

(5) "Rampant sexism." Women are considered second-class citizens.

(6) "A controlled mass media." In public and/or private hands, power elite policies are supported. Popular ones are disdained.

(7) "Obsession with national security." It's use as an instrument of belligerence and oppression.

(8) "Religion and ruling elite tied together." They call themselves military defenders of the nation's dominant religion. They disparage others. They consider them inferior or threatening.

(9) "Power of corporations defended." It's done for economic power, military production, and social control.

(10) "Power of labor suppressed or eliminated." It's to assure unchallenged political and corporate dominance.

(11) "Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts." They represent intellectual and academic freedom. They're considered threats to national security and political control.

(12) "Obsession with crime and punishment." Draconian criminal justice measures and practices are instituted.

(13) "Rampant cronyism and corruption." Power elites enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary people.

(14) "Fraudulent elections." They're manipulated to maintain control. 

In her book "The Origins of Totalitarianism," Hannah Arendt said it's "never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence." 

"(T)hanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within."

She called it dictatorship based on:

"(1) an elaborate ideology;

(2) a single mass party;

(3) (state) terror;

(4) a technologically conditioned monopoly of communication;

(5) a monopoly of weapons; (and)

(6) a centrally controlled economy."

Today's America qualifies. Duopoly power rules. Monied interests run things. Voters have no say.

Wealth and power are unprecedented. They're more concentrated than ever. They make policy. What they say goes.

America is the world's leading purveyor of state terrorism. Opposition isn't tolerated. Unchallenged global dominance is sought. War on humanity is waged to achieve it.

Major media managed news misinformation supports what demands condemnation. Freedom is being systematically destroyed.

Corporate bottom line priorities exclude popular ones. Ordinary people are pawns to be exploited.

Neocons infest Washington. They hugely influence decision-making. Permanent war is official policy. Police state laws target non-believers.

New world order extremism explains things. Obama is America's latest in a long line of warrior presidents.

Today's stakes are far greater than earlier. Weapons used in past global conflicts look like toys compared to today's.

Plans include militarizing space for future wars. Doing so alone means all bets are off.

The January 2001 General Assembly's Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space Resolution A/55/32 was ignored. 

Over 140 nations endorsed it. America and Israel alone declined. It said:

"The exploration and use of outer space...shall be for peaceful purposes and be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development." 

"(The) prevention of an arms race in outer space would avert a grave danger for international peace and security."

Independent experts agree. Weaponizing space undermines world security. It threatens humanity's survival.

Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space co-founder, Bruce Gagnon, warned earlier:

"If the US is allowed to move the arms race into space, there will be no return. We have this one chance, this one moment in history, to stop" it. 

Failure means all bets are off. Longstanding US policy prioritizes it. Imagine future wars fought from space. 

Imagine first-strike nuclear weapons launched this way. Imagine mutually assured destruction (MAD) for real.

Imagine shock and awe on steroids. Imagine the end of history. Imagine war ending future ones. 

Imagine destroying planet earth to control it. Imagine allies and enemies perishing together.

In their joint July 1955 Manifesto, Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell explained the nuclear threat no punches pulled:

"Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable," they said. 

"Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war? (The) best authorities are unanimous that a war with H-bombs (or similar weapons) might possibly put an end to the human race." 

For some, instant death is certain. Most others will experience "slow torture of disease and disintegration." 

Imagine the leader of the world's most powerful nation risking this type denouement. Imagine mushroom shaped cloud finality. 

Imagine the world ending with a bang, not a whimper. Imagine destroying humanity to control it. Imagine no coming back if tried.

Imagine Ukrainian flashpoint conditions launching East/West confrontation. Imagine possible global war following.

Fascist regimes operate this way. Stopping them matters most. Resisting tyranny is a moral imperative. 

Washington threatens world peace. Permanent wars reflect longstanding US policy. Mass slaughter, destruction and human misery follow everywhere America shows up.

Rule of law principles don't matter. Nor fundamental human and civil right. Nor government of, by and for equitably and just.

Nor peace prioritized over war. Nor stopping its madness before it's too late. Obama has lots more warmaking in mind. 

He wants freedom destroyed. He wants dissent silenced. America already is unfit to live in. It's heading toward becoming intolerable.

Gangsterism rules. Morally depraved officials run things. Personal freedoms are dying. Democracy is pure fantasy. 

George Bernard Shaw once called it "a form of government that substitutes elections by the incompetent many for the appointment of the corrupt few."

Perhaps he had America in mind. Maybe today's Ukraine. Fascism operates this way. It bites hard. It causes unspeakable human misery. It denies fundamental rights. 

It risks the worst of all possible outcomes. Peace in our time doesn't exist. Doing the right thing is punished. Today is the most perilous time in world history.

Daily events should scare everyone. War-makers win peace prizes. Peace supporters are scorned.

So are social democrats. Fascism works this way. People power alone can save us. The only solution is nonviolent revolution.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

NATO's Dark Side

NATO's Dark Side

by Stephen Lendman

US-led NATO reflects pure evil. Threatening world peace. Seeking global dominance through one ravaged country at a time.

Comprised of over 70 members and partners. Over one-third of world nations. On every continent except Antarctica. Doing America's bidding. 

Run by its Deputy Secretary-General, Alexander Vershbow. A former Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Affairs. 

Clinton's National Security Council European Affairs director. A former US ambassador to Russia.

Calling Moscow "more an enemy than partner." Diplomacy isn't his long suit. Intends Alliance measures to counter nonexistent Russian aggression.

Claims it "marks a turning point in decades of (NATO) efforts to draw Moscow closer." Intends stepped up US presence close to its borders.

Modernizing its neighbors militarily. "(U)pgrading" joint exercises. "(S)eiz(ing) the opportunity…Creat(ing) the reality on the ground. Accept(ing) membership of aspirant countries."

America's dirty hands run things. NATO is a US-led killing machine. A war-making alliance. A global outlaw.

Ludicrously saying it "promotes democracy. (E)ncourages cooperation." Seeks "to build trust." Prevent conflict.

Settle disputes peacefully. Truth is polar opposite. It bears repeating. Wants world dominance through one ravaged country after another.

Deplores peace. Prioritizes war. Threatens humanity's survival. Outrageously claims Russia wants force replacing the rule of law.

Its lower house State Duma Speaker, Sergey Naryshkin, wants America expelled from NATO. Urges European nations to act.

Calls expulsion "a fantastic proposal." What better way to curtail militarism. Achieve world peace, security and stability, he says.

NATO's collective security commitment is code language for war readiness. Against governments Washington wants ousted. Replaced with ones it controls.

Inventing nonexistent enemies. Turning allies into assets. Bullying them to go along with its imperial project.

Claiming an urgency to defend them. Despite no existing threats. Urging Ukraine to stand firm against Russia. Protect its territory.

Naryshkin believes Ukraine's "forcible European integration" may trigger a continental neo-Nazi upsurge.

Warning Europeans against letting this happen. Not underestimating dangerous Ukrainian radicalization.

"We are told that the role of Ukrainian radicals is exaggerated, but then why their elated attitude to Nazi abettors and an outright aggression against other nationalities are also seen more frequently in the conduct of official Kiev authorities," he asked? 

"We in Russia do not want a hotbed of neo-Nazism to appear in Europe." It runs things in Ukraine.

Except where Donbas freedom fighters prevent it. Putting their bodies on the line for democratic rights everyone deserves. 

At Sunday's Parliamentary Assembly's Annual Session, NATO's Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security proposed a draft resolution.

Pledging increased political, economic, material and technical support for Ukraine. Increased sanctions on Russia.

Refuse recognition of legitimate Crimean self-determination. Recognized under international law. 

Saying the "Alliance's door would remain open for further enlargement." To achieve Washington's goal of global policeman.

Its agenda fosters instability. Permanent wars. Ousting independent governments. Replacing them with pro-Western stooge ones. Puppets America controls.

Institutionalizing hardline rule. Preventing democracy at all costs. Inventing threats to advance its imperial agenda. 

Wanting increased military spending for more wars. Calling it collective defense.

Washington intends more covert and overt military aid for Ukraine. For genocidal Donbas war. Ramped up full force. Including against noncombatant men, women and children.

According to a US official, "(o)ur first radars for the detection and suppression of mortar detachments have been already delivered there, with a few more expected soon." 

"We are also delivering military equipment and technology surplus, particularly, high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (Humvees) and other vehicles." 

"We have already allocated $100 million for these purposes and hope we will be able to spend tens of millions (more) on training (Ukrainian military personnel). We're discussing the provision of funds with Congress."

Other NATO countries are supplying military aid. Intending greater than ever Donbas area carnage.

Including against ethnic Russians. Allowing Donbas slaughter means Crimea is next, says Paul Craig Roberts.

Threatening Russia's security more than ever. Global wars start this way.

Hitler could have been stopped long before WW II began. Western nations did nothing to prevent his Austrian Anschluss. Sudetenland annexation.

On September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared "peace for our time."

Fools alone believed it. Wise men knew otherwise. Chamberlain returned from Munich. Waving Hitler's agreement. It wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Hitler knew it. Chamberlain pretended otherwise. So did others. Foolishly. Hard reality awaited. WW II followed. Tens of millions perished.

America is a much more formidable adversary. Does WW III loom? Will Russia not intervene in time to stop it? Pay too dear a price.

The time to act is now. Later may be too late. Conflicts once begun have a life of their own. The best way to defuse them is intervening before they spin out-of-control.

Given Washington inexorable drive East, its reckless hegemonic agenda, drawing a red line now is key to preventing greater conflict.

Will Russia step up to the plate and act? Will China join it cooperatively? America is a world-class bully. 

Beating up on defenseless adversaries. One after another. Russia and China allied match its might. Perhaps enough for an effective deterrent.

If Syria falls, Iran is next. If Kiev crushes Donbas resistance, expect NATO membership to follow. 

Putting US bases on Russia's borders. What Moscow categorically won't tolerate. The time to prevent it is now.

It bears repeating. Later may be too late. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine joining NATO depends on fulfilling membership criteria.

"Our policy is the same. The door is open for countries" wishing to join, he said.

"I remember the summit in Bucharest where we decided that Ukraine will become a member, and that decision still stands, of course, providing that Ukraine fulfills the criteria for membership and providing that Ukraine so will," he added.

Its illegitimate oligarch president Petro Poroshenko intends a referendum on accession.

Perhaps rigged like Ukraine's farcical presidential and parliamentary elections. Rubber-stamping regime policy.

Challenging Russia irresponsibly. Risking open conflict if accession plans go forward.

It bears repeating. The time to stop reckless policy is before it spins out-of-control. 

Ideally diplomatically. If unsuccessful by whatever it takes. Drawing a red line with teeth may be all that's needed.

Washington may think twice before confronting Russia belligerently. At least at this time.

Kiev's puppet government does nothing without US consent. For sure on war and peace issues. 

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov calls Ukraine's drive to join NATO hugely destabilizing.

"I'm sure that what the Ukrainian leadership announced will lead to further aggravation of the situation in Ukraine," he said.

"This will not ensure security in Ukraine and this will not improve the Ukrainian people's life."

"This is the result of illusions, the Ukrainian leaders and many people in the West live in, the illusions that the geopolitical Western game is all of this and people’s life is nothing."

"I regret that these leaders are enthralled by such illusions." They portend bad thing to follow. Fascists operate this way.

Their latest anti-Russian diktat intends removing any mention of Soviet Russia's Great Patriotic War (1941 - 45). Affecting Ukraine greatly. 

On Tuesday, Ukrainian National Memory Institute director Volodymy Vyatovich announced the decision, saying:

"…Soviet-era propaganda and primarily (mythology) about the Great Patriotic War" should be removed from textbooks and other educational materials.

No nation paid more dearly in lives lost and mass destruction than Soviet Russia. Its war effort contributed hugely to defeating Nazi Germany. 

Things might have turned out differently without it. Russian lower house State Duma International Committee chairman, Ivan Kvitka, denounced Kiev's increasing recklessness, saying:

"They have already denied their Soviet past. Now they are denying the feat of their fathers and grandfathers." 

"I don't think attempts to deny their own roots could bring Ukraine closer to Europe."

At "the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Ukraine had a population of about 41 million, whereas by the end of the war there were only 27 million people" left.

"More than ten million Ukrainians died defending their families, their homeland from fascism." 

"And Kiev wants its citizens to forget about this irreplaceable loss. No wonder the Nazi ideology is flourishing in the present-day Ukraine on such background."

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland called Kiev's wall under construction on its border with Russia unacceptable.

It "destroys the fate of people and their families," he said. "It is necessary to strengthen an idea of a 'Common European Home.' "

Illegitimate prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk calls the wall project and related facilities a step toward "Ukraine's integration into NATO."

"(B)ecause a state that doesn't control its border can't be a member of a defense bloc," he claims.

Kiev finds new ways to prove its pariah state status. Naked aggression against Donbas civilians explains best.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Systemic Injustice in America

Systemic Injustice in America

by Stephen Lendman

Monday's grand jury exoneration of Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson didn't surprise. Injustice triumphed.

A previous article called justice in America a four-letter word. Killer cops mock it. Nearly always with impunity. A badge lets them brutalize and kill. 

Blacks, Latinos, ethnic minorities and Muslims suffer most. They're targets of choice. Police violence occurs multiple times daily across America.

In big cities. Small ones. Urban areas. Rural ones. Militarized police make their own rules. Operating extrajudicially.

Killing with impunity. On August 9, officer Darren Wilson murdered 18-year-old Michael Brown. In cold blood. Without probable cause.

Brown was unarmed. Posed no threat. Had no criminal record. An independent autopsy showed he was shot six times. 

Ferguson police lied. Claiming Brown's shooting followed an altercation he initiated. Saying he tried to grab officer Wilson's gun.

He wasn't close enough to do it. No powder burns on his hands, arms or body proved it. 

Forensic evidence showed Brown was either walking away from officer Wilson or had his hands raised in a "don't shoot" position. Eyewitnesses confirmed the same thing.

At the time, ACLU staff attorney Nusrat Choudhury said killing  Brown raised disturbing questions about how often police brutalize unarmed black and Latino men in America.

"(F)ar too often," she stressed. Rarely ever are cops held accountable. More on this below.

Obama failed to express outrage. Ignored systemic police violence and brutality in America. Nearly always with impunity.

Saying "we are a nation built on the rule of law. (W)e need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make."  

"There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed…"

Dismissively asking everyone protesting the grand jury's decision "to do so peacefully." Ludicrously "appeal(ing) to the law enforcement officials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur."  

"Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day," he said. Protecting privilege from beneficial social change. Equity and justice for all don't matter.

Obama lied claiming "enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades."

Jim Crow thrives. America is separate and unequal. Its human and civil rights record is by far the world's worst. 

Most unprincipled. Most dismissive of rule of law principles. Fundamental democratic values.

Responsible for virtually every crime imaginable and then some. More police state than democracy. More battleground than homeland.

Fundamental constitutionally guaranteed rights don't matter. They're disappearing in plain sight. Cops have license to kill.

Anyone can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned for any reason or none at all. Others can be detained indefinitely. Uncharged. Untried. Denied due process and judicial fairness.

Innocence is no defense. Wilson's guilt didn't matter. Federal, state and local authorities operate extrajudicially.

On July 2, 1964, Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. It was more hype than reality. Things today are worse than ever in modern times.

Johnson's statement at the time rang hollow. Calling Civil Rights Act legislation a "proud triumph."

"Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom," he said. 

They died for imperial lawlessness. More than ever today. Johnson didn't explain. Nor presidents succeeding him.

"Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities," he said. For America's rich, well-born and able alone. 

"Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders," he added. 

It's selectively given. America has the best democracy money can buy.

"We believe that all men are created equal," said Johnson. "Yet many are denied equal treatment."

The vast majority today. A select few benefit. At the expense of all others.

"We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights," said Johnson. Denied for America's most disadvantaged.

Rule of law principles are ignored. Democracy is pure fantasy. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Popular needs and rights go begging. For people of color most of all.

Public outrage followed Brown's exoneration. Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vincent Warren was clear and unequivocal, saying:

"It’s difficult to see how anyone in the community can have faith in the system at this point: the failure to indict sends the clear message that it's open season on people of color." 

"All resistance must be viewed through that lens, and the focus must remain on the injustice of a white police officer getting away - yet again - with killing a young unarmed Black man." 

"We stand with the community in anger and in mourning. We stand with the people in the streets of Ferguson…" 

"(J)ust as the world stood with protesters in (Egypt's) Tahrir Square, in Gaza," and elsewhere. "The world must learn: Black lives matter."

ACLU Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman said the following:

"The grand jury's decision does not negate the fact that Michael Brown's tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters." 

"Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable."

"(W)e must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement."

Reflecting "us vs. them" injustice. A national disgrace. At federal, state and local levels.

Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven Hawkins stopped short of condemning injustice, saying:

"Today, a St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in August."

"The community response to Mike Brown's death, and the response that is likely still to come, mark a pivotal moment in the human rights movement and in US history."

"It's a moment of passion, of frustration, and of activism."

"It's within this moment that officials in Ferguson and throughout the United States must stand up to ensure that each individual's human rights -including the right to freely express themselves in the form of peaceful protest - are respected, protected and fulfilled."

"Amnesty is calling upon law enforcement officers to facilitate peaceful protests."

"We are calling on them to bear in mind their role as partners and protectors of community, seeking to do no harm."

"We are calling on them to protect peaceful assemblies, even if a small minority tries to turn a peaceful protest into a violent one."

"That's what human rights looks like."

Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D. OH) expressed outrage saying:

"The Ferguson Grand Jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown is a miscarriage of  justice." 

"It is a slap in the face to Americans nationwide who continue to hope and believe that justice will prevail."

"This decision seems to underscore an unwritten rule that Black lives hold no value; that you may kill Black men in this country without consequences or repercussions."  

"This is a frightening narrative for every parent and guardian of Black and brown children, and another setback for race relations in America."  

"My heart goes out to Michael Brown's loved ones, and to the loved ones of all the Michael Browns we have buried in this country." 

Murdered by killer cops with impunity. Michael Brown's family expressed profound disappointment "that the killer of our child will not face the consequences of his actions."

Family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said other legal options will be explored going forward.

Brown's family "do(esn't) trust this prosecutor. They never did from the beginning."

"And they are going to try to see if they can do something to get some positive change out of this because they understand this system needs to be changed."

A separate federal civil rights investigation into what happened remains ongoing. Officials claim evidence so far fails to support a case against Wilson.

Doing so must show intent to violate Brown's civil rights.

A second federal inquiry is examining whether Ferguson police violated fundamental civil rights protections.

Through excessive force. Searches and arrests. Treatment of detainees. Overall discriminatory practices.

Police in majority Black Ferguson employ a handful of minority officers only.

Brown's family may sue. Most likely under the so-called 1983 provision of federal civil rights law.

Probably claiming Wilson deprived Brown of his constitutionally guaranteed rights. While working as an officer "under cover of state law."

Proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" is required. Same as in criminal cases. Guilt would force Wilson to pay financial damages to Brown family members. 

Hardly just compensation for Michael's death. Losing a loved one matters most.

St. Louis prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch coordinated his efforts with White House and Department of Justice officials.

Denouncing public "speculation" of his version of what happened. Ignoring hard truths. They bear repeating.

Brown was unarmed. Posed no threat. Had no criminal record. An independent autopsy showed he was shot six times. 

Ferguson police lied. Irresponsibly blaming Brown for initiating an altercation. No evidence proved it. 

Truth is polar opposite. Politics trumped justice. America's judicial system works this way.

The American Bar Association (ABA) says grand juries review evidence to determine "whether there is probable cause to return an indictment." 

Critics say they rubber stamp prosecutorial aggressiveness. They have "extraordinary investigative powers." Developed since the 1950s. According to the ABA:

"This wide, sweeping, almost unrestricted power is the cause of much criticism." 

Prosecutors take full advantage of a rigged system they control. Manipulating proceedings for outcomes they want. 

Leaving targets unfairly vulnerable to indictments. Others like police officer Wilson unjustly exonerated.

The Fifth Amendment originally applied only to federal courts in criminal cases. Supreme Court rulings included states and municipalities. Under the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause. 

Grand juries originated during Britain's early history. Reflecting deep-rooted Anglo-American tradition. 

The process initially served to protect accused defendants from overly-zealous English monarchy prosecutions.

Though nominally independent, they only hear cases prosecutors choose. Able select witnesses. Exclude ones they wish. 

Grant discretionary immunity. Conduct virtually all questioning. Grand jury members may ask their own after witnesses testify.

Their job is solely to judge what prosecutors present. Decide if enough evidence warrants indictments or exonerations.

Proceedings are conducted in secret. No one may disclose what goes on. Unless ordered to do so judicially. 

Anyone may be subpoenaed. Must answer questions unless a specific privilege is claimed. Such as lawyer/client confidentiality or self-incrimination. 

Lawyers can't represent their clients while testifying. Double jeopardy doesn't apply to grand juries.

If prosecutors fail to get indictments, they need Criminal Division Attorney General permission to try again. Targets remain vulnerable.

Zealous prosecutors can charge defendants on rejected charges. Or new ones. The process can continue for years.

The ABA asks, "What protection does a target have against witnesses lying to the grand jury (perhaps for leniency on existing or threatened charges), or against the use of unconstitutionally obtained evidence? None." 

Law Professor Mark Kadish says "grand jur(ies) (give) prosecutors extraordinary powers…" Providing "incredible pretrial and trial advantages…(E)specially where those powers are otherwise unavailable through authorized civil discovery tools."

Especially post-9/11. Prosecutors want grant jury indictments. Manipulate proceedings to get them. 

Leave targeted subjects vulnerable on their own. Or in the case of Darren Wilson, rig evidence for exoneration.

At fault is failed system. Rigged against justice. Convicting innocent victims. Exonerating killer cops.

Mocking judicial fairness. Denying equal protection for everyone. Showing contempt for rule of law principles.

Especially for America's most vulnerable. For sure not in Ferguson, MO Monday night.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.